10 best pop-cultural bits of the decade*
Sixteen days till 2020 arrival party. Wow, I mean! 16!! Last night, I went out with my friend (Kinga, random shout out to you <3) and we talked about pop-cultural best bits, a summary of the decade, we talked a little about what happened in movies (coming soon), music (also soon) and TV (soon, guess who has Monday, Tuesday and Friday off?).
You already know what happened to me in this decade, so tonight let me tell you about pop-cultural milestones. Of course, there were more than 10, but mum and I chose the best in our opinion. Ready? 😊 Ahh, shoot! I almost forgot about the soundtrack. Well, I have just watched Rogue One, but since Star Wars was my previous choice, no one can stop me from using this soundtrack again: Rogue One!
*(provided to you by me and my mum)
So, here we go, lot! I am all set – tea, music, notebook with the list. Let see what we witnessed!
1. Star Wars resurrection
Now this was a huge, massive heartwarming news to me. You all remember my story with this saga, right? If not, you can read about it here. In October 2012, George Lucas sold his production company Lucasfilm (including the Star Wars franchise) to The Walt Disney Company. With new president on board (Kathleen Kennedy), it was decided to bring back the saga with sequel trilogy. And you know, I am a big fan of classic stories, the classic trilogy. But… I am also an enthusiast. I simply love this universe and I crave for more. So, when I first heard about The Force Awakens, I was over the moons. I didn’t care if the movie will be good or not – the only thing that mattered was that Star Wars was back on the big screen. My hopes were high and when dad and I walked into the theater, and when we heard first notes of Star Wars theme we… Well, I cried. My dad smiled. I cried, and couldn’t stop.
And then they announced “stories” – stand alone movies, that will hit theaters between the Episodes. OWMAGAH. I will never forget watching Rogue One for the first time. My heart was crushed and I couldn’t believe what I saw. The second I realized when this story takes place… And what will happen. Jeez. Heartbreaking. And then they came up wit Solo and casted Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. HOLLY SHIEEEEEEET THAT MOVIE WAS SOOOO DAMN GOOD! And The Last Jedi, introducing a different perspective (change of director will do that to you, but still. Rian’s aesthetics <3).
And now we have The Mandalorian on Disney+ and so much more to come. In few days we will see The Rise of Skywalker, an epic conclusion to the entire saga. I am both thrilled and deeply saddened. This will be end of an era. I’m not sure if I’m ready for it but… “No one’s ever really gone”, right?
I’m pretty sure my nerd heart is in 87% made of Star Wars. I’d love to write a piece about it, so we could freak out together. I will find some time during Christmas, I promise.
2. Superhero Universes expansion
This was a great decade for Superhero-movies industry. While Marvel is unquestionable top of the top, DC is trying to keep up. And with Wonder Woman, Shazam! and Joker it might! Let’s focus on Marvel first, as it is closer to my heart. The idea of bringing all heroes together to end another era, and set course for new one…
Well, it had to happen. But along the way, we were introduced to so many superheroes, like Black Panther (winner of the Academy Awards for best original score, Ludwig Göransson, hands down my man; best costume design, Ruth E. Carter; best cinematography Hannah Beachler, Jay Hart), or Captain Marvel – strong female character with great message, or hilarious Guardians of the Galaxy with high level wit and amazing soundtrack, or re-defining Spider-Man, taking him back to the roots we love. For over a decade now, Marvel Studios touched our hearts, made us laugh and gained our trust and commitment to break our hearts in the biggest superhero crossover there is: Infinity War + Endgame. All roads led to those movies.
On the other hand there is new, freshened up DC Extended Universe, that gave us new Batman, new Superman, Suicide Squad – all of which I hated. Redemption came with Wonder Woman (part one and upcoming sequel, WW1984), Shazam! (with sequel just announced) and finally Joker, that broke so many hearts in the most painful way (read about my crushed heart here). Whenever there is a new DC movie announced I pray that they let go of that unrealistic dream of beating Marvel. Just keep on doing movies your way. They will be good, if you let go. I wish all the best to Warner Bros, they have potential.
A friend told me recently, that superhero movies, the Universes, are like going to the supermarket where everyone can find something for themselves. It’s such a variety of emotions, stories and features! We should enjoy it. They keep making those movies for a reason 😉
3. Tesla Roadster in space
When Elon Musk introduced the idea, I was really confused. Like, what? Dude, I love you and respect you and, hell I will say it, I am very attracted to your intelligence, but what the hap is duckenning. Background: March 2017, Elon said that because the launch of the new Falcon Heavy vehicle was risky, it would carry the “silliest thing we can imagine”. December 2017 he announced that this “silliest thing” will be his midnight cherry Tesla Roadster. Now, let me use the polish youth-word-of-the-year of 2017: XD. This was all of us right, XD?
It was officially launched on February 6th, 2018. And it was launch with a big bang – there even is a driver, a Starman, there is a continuously looped soundtrack- Space Oddity by David Bowie. What else is there? A copy of Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the glovebox, a Hot Wheels miniature Roadster with a miniature Starman on the dashboard, a plaque bearing the names of the employees who worked on the mission and a message on the vehicle’s circuit board reads „Made on Earth by humans”. Lastly, there is a copy Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy on a 5D optical disc, a proof of concept for high-density long-lasting data storage, donated to Musk by the Arch Mission Foundation. Yes.
This was huge, wouldn’t you agree? Looks like everything is possible. Just ask uncle Elon. He’ll show ya.
4. Black Hole picture
Ah, if only Steven Hawking could see it… This accomplishment was great and terrifying. You see, I love space. I love looking at the stars, I love reading about it, I love all the space themed movies, science bits and journals. I don’t understand it, but I love it. But I am also frightened. It is so vast, unfinished and… Lonely. There is so much to learn about it.
And heck, I am no expert. But that photograph gave mu goosebumps. Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago this was impossible. With today’s technology, we can do extraordinary things. Like this one:
Read more about this here, as I have no idea how to translate this into something I would understand.
5. Wings for Life
That’s my mum’s choice and you know what? It’s a good one. It was established in 2014 and it is a running competition held on the first weekend of May, to collect funds for the not-for-profit foundation Wings for Life (founded in 2004 by Heinz Kinigadner and the Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz). But it’s not like any other run or marathon. There is no distance set – you run as long as your body lets you. 30 minutes after participants start, a car rides on the track. Overtaken participants are eliminated until just one – the winner – remains.
I asked my mum why she thinks this even qualifies as best pop-cultural bit of the decade. She just looked at me and shrugged, saying “It’s just cool”. Well, can’t argue with that – it is cool. And it’s worldwide initiative, as it takes place in different locations but at the same time!
Running for those, who can’t. Beautiful motto for beautiful cause.
6. Banksy and his destroyed painting
Now, this entire action was such a strong statement. He played us all, left the entire world speechless! On October 5th 2018, Banksy’s painting, the one with girl releasing red balloon was sold for 1.4 million dollars (duck me) and… Went into self-destruction mode seconds after. The famously anonymous artist is known for creating peculiar art with deeper meaning, he likes to outline everyday problems. He likes to give his own opinion, but in the artistic way, which I absolutely love. By shredding the painting, he essentially turned the auction itself into a work of art! Genius!!!!
He put out a video on Instagram, where he admitted to building the shredder into the frame. He used Picasso’s quote as caption: the urge to destroy is also a creative urge.
7. Rolling Stones gig in Cuba
Now, that’s another great bit by mu mummy – though she’s not Stones fan. The Rolling Stones: Havana Moon is a recording of free, outdoor concert, filmed in Havana, Cuba on March 25th 2016. Estimated attendance? 500,000 concert-goers.
Why, you’d ask, why is this such a great milestone in this decade. Well, lot. That’s easy. It was the first time a rock band had performed in Cuba to such a large crowd. It was iconic and historical moment for entire music and, sadly, political industry – given the history and tension between Cuba, US and entire world. Cuban Crisis, Cold War… Well, not gonna lie to you, if there is such thing as “favorite war period” that time would be mine. I know how it sounds, but I really liked studying about it. Rolling Stones certainly moved every rock.
Music is the one thing that will always connect generations, people of different beliefs, orientations, religions. And even though we all have different tastes in music, if I meet you on a gig, like a festival – it won’t matter that I like Bastille and you don’t. What will matter is the fact, that we are there, in that moment together, sharing our love for music. Live music, the atmosphere, the love. Music is freedom. And we all have a right to freedom.
8. Game of Thrones
This will be short, as I haven’t read the books, haven’t watch a TV Show, nope, nada, zero. Why? No clue really, I think I’m waiting for dust to settle. Like with Narcos – hype is gone so I can watch in peace. And I will, starting next weekend <3 But Game of Thrones is truly the pop-cultural essential in this decade and it deserves spot on this list, not the one dedicated to TV series.
I love enthusiasm. I love people who are genuinely in love with ideas and how they are realized in real life. Game of Thrones proved something remarkable – you can do something that people will love so deeply, they will go mad. In a positive manner of course! I mean, this TV series is finished, but the books are not. I MEAN!!! Books, based on which the TV show came too life, are not done.
This is simply spectacular. And I’m not here to rate the last season, to compare it to the previous ones, I am here to point out the phenomenon of this story. Not everyone likes fantasy, but 98% people love Game of Thrones. It’s like a cult, a religion. I can see that in my brother – who could watch it over and over again. Maybe I will get there someday, for him (I mean, he is the reason I love The Lord of the rings and why I’m reading The Witcher 😊).
9. Harry Potter comes to an end
Another bow for my mum, as she is the biggest HP fan there is. Trust me, if there is a thing with me and The Lion King, my mum has the same with Harry Potter. Both books and movies. She’s the ultimate fan, encyclopedia and conspirator. As a kid I loved when she decided that HP will be our bedtime story. And those were the movies we would go together for – mum, dad, bro and me. This was our tradition. Now, every once in a while we watch it all.
But J.K. Rowling and her HP stories had, still have maybe, great impact on pop-culture. There is magic, of course, but there is also heartbreak, death, betrayal… This story, this saga is so deep, intelligent, witty and emotional! We should be reading more of that kind of stories. Hell, we should WRITE MORE! Isn’t it wonderful, to teleport to wizarding world, like Rowling has built for us?
There is entire generation raised on those books, with another growing strong. I like to call this saga a complete art work. Full of values, like friendship and love, with classic good versus evil fight, picture of war that will consume the best ones, with no regrets. Looking back at my childhood, all I ever wanted was to get a letter from Hogwarts. Yes. Well, I hope my kids will receive it one day.
10. Streaming platforms phenomenon
There is no denying that this invention changed movie and music industry forever. Introducing Netflix or Spotify (I know that both existed earlier, but it bloomed in this decade, right?), Amazon Prime or newly born Disney+ gave almost unlimited access to pop-culture. With fee, of course.
But even considering movie awards, that usually were associated with movies created for cinemas, or TV shows created for television, we are entering a new era, where streaming platforms step up for the award race. Their original productions are just as good, and sometimes even better. And for sure they could be award worthy.
So, are people getting lazier these days, and don’t want to go to the movies? Are the tickets getting more and more expensive? Or, is it the content they get online better? There is no good answer here, I mean. I love going to the movies and I doubt there will be anything that would make me stay home. Plus, there is no IMAX on Netflix, right? 😉 On the other hand, I love that I can watch some good shows in there, good movies too. And no one will ever stop me from buying records and listening them on my CD player. Or gramophone. But I also like Spotify for creating personalized playlists. Side note: IMAGINE DRAGONS IS MY ARTIST OF THE DECADE, which of course makes a lot of sense.
The future is bright for the streaming giants, but I am a little worried about “classic” movie & music industry. I mean, I will for sure support it by buying tickets, albums and DVDs, but… Well, we just have to wait and see what the next decade brings, right?
And that’s all Folks! At least for tonight. What would you add to this list? I’m sure there are things that you would like to add. After all, this is all subjective, right? And we all have different points of view. Which only makes things more beautiful.